Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not huge on Disney. I grew up watching Godzilla, Jurassic Park and Space Jam rather than Bambi, Jungle Book and Lion King. However, after being urged by my friend to watch this film and it’s being on Netflix, why not?
I regret nothing.
It appears that recently Disney has started to create films that are aimed differently to the audiences of today’s youth than our youth. One look at Frozen, Tangled and Brave could tell you how different they are to Lion King, Snow White et al. Regardless, it’s still the same story, just a different approach.
I had previously thought there had been an earlier version by Disney of Rapunzel, but to my surprise, there isn’t. (Or is there? Someone clear this up for me!) So for Disney this is a first timer kind of thing. And it was great. As far as the fairy tale of Rapunzel goes, the story is a little different and the ending being completely different too, but after all, the real tale is a bit grim with a prince falling from the tower and becoming blind.
As I had previously said, I’m not huge on Disney and one thing I grew knowing about Disney is there was always a prince. Always. To my surprise the leading male actor, is by no means a prince. The furthest thing from a prince you could possibly find. Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) is as equal to the story as Rapunzel is, and he takes the reigns by providing the audience with how Rapunzel came to be.
The tale (from Disney’s perspective) goes that Rapunzel’s mother (the Queen of the kingdom) gets sick in labour and the whole kingdom sets out to find this magical golden flower that is currently being hoarded by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy’s voice) who sings a song to keep herself young. They find this flower and the mother gets better and of course the baby is born (Rapunzel). Of course, what’s a fairy tale without a bit of tragedy? Mother Gothel steals the baby realising that when singing the song her hair glows and heals her instead of the flower. She then raises the child herself in the tower but each year on her birthday sees the lanterns that are cast into the sky by the king and queen of the Kingdom.
Of course, what’s a Disney film of old without the songs? Yes, there are songs. Even the present Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) opens up with a song. But more importantly after the song finishes, we meet the character of Flynn Rider, currently in the act of stealing a crown from the castle. The trio of the main characters is complete when we meet the present Mother Gothel, and her character is not very likeable. At all. But that’s the natural progression of these characters, right?
Regardless of the thievery that we see Flynn in the act of, he is still a likeable character. Taking in the scenery, wanting a castle of his own, making one-liners around the place. It’s good. It fits. It’s whats funny about this film, and of course the relationship between the palace guards and the two muscular brothers that want to hurt him as well. Flynn and Rapunzel are both the driving force of this film, due to the ability to be able to like both of them and not feel one sided about the whole affair.
I won’t bore you with the details of the storyline, because everyone should know the story. However, Flynn discovers the tower and subsequently forced into taking Rapunzel to see the lights to get his crown back, instead of a prince finding the tower and Rapunzel and said prince falling in love, like the tale we read in primary school. This is not the only change to the tale, one being the fact that in the original tale, Rapunzel wasn’t the daughter of a kind and queen, but that’s not Disney, is it? And of course, we have to remember the primary audience will be children, but I found elements in the film that would be rather enjoyable for the whole family, not just the kids. I was heartily chuckling at the scenes involving Flynn because he is the driving force of the comedy. (And Maximus, let’s not forget about Maximus now)
“They just can’t get my nose right!”
This comedy, yes very slapstick and daft, but it works. Disney have made the correct call in the complete piece as there are elements there for the whole family to enjoy, even the boys and girls considering Flynn plays a bigger part in the tale than the usual fairy tale. The animation is great too, flowing and smooth, with the mix of the music being nothing special, but there to keep the movie going without the musical numbers. My only issue. I couldn’t tell how long Rapunzel’s hair was. Does it keep changing, or was that just me?
In all honesty, if the other recent Disney films are like this (I’ve not seen the other recent ones) then Disney have hit a decent stride with a mix of comedy, animation and storyline (regardless of them adapting a fairy tale) because it works for all audiences. And of course the old hardcore disney fans would enjoy this too, as many that have enjoyed Frozen have been my age and would’ve grown up on Lion King, Jungle Book et al. But most importantly and what I really enjoyed, was the inclusion of Flynn, being this thief, turned helper, and the story opening with him telling the story and of course closing the story. Rather than being an emblazoned 100 minutes of Rapunzel letting down her hair.